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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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Tuesday, November 29

Loving

We saw Loving yesterday. It wasn’t a film I’d normally want to see, but it was similar to Twelve Years a Slave, both films I had to see. I’ve said before how many remarkable changes I’ve witnessed in my lifetime, and this film showed me another of those changes, a change wrought by Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. How far we’ve come in the last fifty years in recognizing how all people, no matter what their color or ethnicity or religious beliefs, deserve to be cherished. But we still have a long way to go, and I fear that the recent presidential election may send us a few steps backward instead of forward. Loving, based on a true story about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the miscegenation laws in Virginia and elsewhere, showed us two people, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) who got married and simply wanted to live their lives in Virginia among their friends and families. But interracial marriage was illegal and if they didn’t divorce or move out of Virginia they would be arrested and sent to prison. Their plight was finally brought to the attention of the ACLU, who represented them in bringing their case before the Supreme Court. This was almost a totally actionless film, deliberately quiet and actionless by director Jeff Nichols. It simply showed us the normal, quiet lives of this couple who only wanted to be left alone, not persecuted for their union. We see Richard at his brick-laying job, with the symbolic level he uses to make sure his bricks are straight and even, just as he tries to keep his life and the life of the woman he loves straight and even. His stoicism shows all through the film, his quiet acceptance of their situation. Even when the local police come in the middle of the night to arrest them, he doesn’t fight them despite the awful injustice of it all. We see Mildred at home with her family, quietly (although not quite as quietly as Richard) accepting their situation until she’s finally told she should write to Bobby Kennedy, then Attorney General under brother John F. Kennedy’s administration, for help to overturn the Virginia anti-miscegenation law. We also noted the rope tossed over a branch to make a swing for the Loving’s children, the suggestion that a rope over a tree branch was too often used to lynch a black man who had the audacity to look too long at a white woman. This was a story I had to see. But it may have taken about twenty minutes too long to tell it. I find it hard to believe that in the 50’s and 60’s we still had white supremacists who so despised anyone non-white they could disallow all interracial marriages. These were the good ol’ boys found mainly in the South but also to a lesser degree in all parts of the country. These were the good ol’ boys who believed that a woman’s place was in the kitchen and the bedroom, cookin’ for ‘em and providin’ sexual satisfaction for ‘em whenever they wanted it. They also believed that all blacks emitted a distinctive bad odor, that blacks were descended directly from apes, unlike whites who were the children of God. These were the men who donned white robes as they attended their KKK meetings, who bombed black churches, who strung up uppity blacks, who disallowed any blacks from swimming in white pools because they would somehow infect the water, who disallowed blacks from eating in white restaurants or sleeping in white hotels, who made blacks sit at the back of busses, drink at separate drinking fountains, stay in their black ghettos. It was a film I had to see. And, oh, how too many Trump supporters would hate it, how one of Trump’s key advisors, the Alt-Right Steve Bannon, would hate it, how the anti-Semites and anti-Muslims would hate it, how all the neo-Nazis would hate it, how current KKK members would hate it, how those who advocate that we should have separate, white-only sections of the country, maybe with a fence all around, or even a twenty-foot wall would hate it.

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